Rock bottom? Cubs shut out Giants 7-0


Rock bottom? Cubs shut out Giants 7-0

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Tim Lincecum reached a new low this season and so did the San Francisco Giants' offense.At this rate, the defending World Series champions are going to need an incredible September to avoid missing the postseason altogether.Not even the memories of last fall's memorable title run are enough to get this team going now."At this time last year we were in a similar spot but we were gaining ground, not going backward," said Lincecum, who gave up three home runs and allowed five runs in a 7-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Monday night. "Right now it's obviously frustrating for everybody. It's one of those situations where it's hard to keep your head up when things aren't really going our way."
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The loss dropped the Giants five games behind first-place Arizona in the NL West with 27 games to play. At the same point a year ago, they were three games out of the division lead before going 18-8 in September.Manager Bruce Bochy has tried everything to shake his team out of the slump. On Friday he held a meeting with San Francisco's pitching staff and told them not to worry about the lack of run support.After the Giants managed only two hits against Cubs starter Randy Wells, Bochy might want to try again."It's hard to figure what's going on," said Bochy, who met with general manager Brian Sabean in his office after speaking with reporters following the game. "We've tried different things, lineups, yelling, meeting, but it's a tough rut, there's no getting around it."San Francisco managed only a two-out double by Andres Torres in the third and Mike Fontenot's pinch-hit single with one out in the eighth.Beyond that, the Giants managed only a walk against Wells."Right now nothing is really going our way," said Carlos Beltran, who went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. "We come to the ballpark every day trying to make things happen, and nothing's happened. It just hasn't happened."
URBAN: The Giants just aren't very good
That continues to be a big problem for the Giants, who went into August with a two-game lead in the division. Now San Francisco needs a strong finish to avoid missing out on the postseason altogether.Lincecum, a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, had allowed only five runs over his previous five starts. He pitched out of jams in the first and sixth but gave up solo home runs to Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto before Blake DeWitt's three-run blast in the seventh.It's the first time in his career that Lincecum (12-11) has allowed three home runs in one game."My purpose is to go out there and pitch and give my team a chance to win, whether it's giving up one run or two runs or zero runs. That's my job and I didn't do that tonight," said Lincecum, whose 11 losses are a career-high. "I made three poorly executed pitches when it counted and they hit them out of the park. Just three really (bad) pitches."Wells (6-4) pitched a two-hitter for his first career complete game while the Cubs backed him with four home runs to snap a four-game losing streak.Carlos Pena accounted for the fourth homer, a solo shot off reliever Steve Edlefsen in the seventh.It was the third time this season Chicago has had four or more home runs in one game. The Cubs have 38 home runs in August, most in the National League."To do that kind of damage against Lincecum was a huge plus," Chicago manager Mike Quade said. "When it was 1-0, you think it might just end up that way. The offense was fantastic."The way Wells has been pitching it didn't matter what Lincecum did.Wells faced only four batters over the minimum and only allowed two runners to reach second base. He matched his season-high of seven strikeouts and walked one while winning his third consecutive start on the road. The right-hander, who hasn't lost since July 28, improved to 2-1 in four career starts against the Giants.Soriano's home run was his 23rd of the season, one shy of tying Pena and Aramis Ramirez for the team lead.Soto's homer, leading off the seventh, snapped an 0-for-25 streak by the Cubs' catcher.Lincecum finished with four walks and four strikeouts. He needs seven more to reach 200 for the fourth consecutive season.Notes: One day after Bochy hinted LHP Jonathan Sanchez (left ankle sprain) might be done for the year, Sanchez acknowledged his recovery hasn't gone as quickly as he hoped but said he's hopeful of pitching again this season. ... LHP Barry Zito is scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Wednesday and could begin a rehab assignment soon. ... RHP Matt Garza (6-10) starts for the Cubs on Tuesday and will make his first career appearance against the Giants. Garza has only two wins and a 5.07 ERA on the road this season. ... Former San Francisco mayor and current California Sen. Dianne Feinstein was among those in attendance.

49ers notes: Raheem Mostert responds to Kyle Shanahan's challenge


49ers notes: Raheem Mostert responds to Kyle Shanahan's challenge

GREEN BAY, Wisc. – After Matt Breida went down with an ankle injury in the 49ers’ Week 5 game, coach Kyle Shanahan turned to No. 3 running back Raheem Mostert.

Mostert fumbled on his first rushing attempt, one of the 49ers’ five turnovers on the day. Then, Shanahan did not sugarcoat what he thought of Mostert’s performance in the loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

“He challenged me in front of the whole team and the whole staff,” Mostert said Monday night after the 49ers’ 33-30 loss to the Green Bay Packers. “He had a talk with me and he said, ‘I know you can do better.'

“I was a little down on myself because I knew I could do better, as well. So when he challenged me, I took that challenge throughout week of practice and preparation.”

And it carried over into the game on Monday at Lambeau Field. Mostert played 23 offensive snaps and produced career-highs with 12 rushing attempts for 87 yards. Mostert was rewarded playing time behind Breida that had previously been designated for veteran Alfred Morris.

“He hit the hole hard,” 49ers left tackle Joe Staley said of Mostert. “He is coached by one the best running back coaches in NFL history in Bobby Turner, so he knows exactly what he is supposed to be doing. He was really pissed about fumbling last week.”

Breida, who was questionable with an ankle injury, was on the field for 27 plays and gained 61 yards on 14 carries. Morris played just one offensive snap and did not touch the ball.

“I thought he ran hard,” Shanahan said of Breida. “We had to stop him a little bit just to keep his health up. Breida is the man. For him to get out there, he was hurting a lot. Battled all week to try to get his body ready to play. He did a good job.”

Time for a third quarterback?

Shanahan has wanted to bring in a third quarterback since Jimmy Garoppolo's season-ending injury, but the organization has held off because of a shortage of healthy players at other positions. When the 49ers determine the time is right, the player the club will add is free-agent Tom Savage, a source told NBC Sports Bay Area.

Savage and Matt Simms were the quarterbacks who stood out to the 49ers when workouts were held two days after Garoppolo sustained a torn ACL in his left knee in a Week 3 game at Kansas City. The 49ers determined Savage would get the call because he has the most experience. Savage, 28, started seven games for the Houston Texans last season.

Savage saw action with the Texans in three seasons, appearing in 13 games with nine starts. He completed 57.5 percent of his passes for 2,000 yards with five touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Savage would come to the 49ers as the No. 3 quarterback, and he would not be active on game days behind starter C.J. Beathard and backup Nick Mullens, as long as both players remain healthy.

This ‘n’ that

Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin returned to action after sitting out Week 5 with hamstring and thigh issues. He caught four passes for 126 yards. He had a 67-yard touchdown reception, one of his career-best two scoring catches.

“Man, I didn’t even know how long it was. C.J. has that cannon,” Goodwin said. “He let it go, and 67 yards later, it is a touchdown. The offensive line held up in protection. It was just C.J. believing in me enough to throw the ball, and that I would beat the safety and we made it happen.” . . .

When the 49ers scored a touchdown on their first drive of the game, it marked the first time since 2014 that the 49ers scored on their first possession in back-to-back games. . .

DeForest Buckner, Sheldon Day and Ronald Blair recorded a sack apiece of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Buckner also had a sack nullified by Richard Sherman’s holding penalty late in the fourth quarter to extend Green Bay’s game-winning drive.

“I can’t have that penalty and give him a shot,” Sherman said of Rodgers. “However I might feel about it, I have to find a way to win that play without getting a flag.” . . .

The temperature at kickoff was 37 degrees, making it the second-coldest October game at Lambeau Field since 1959, behind only the 36-degree Packers-Vikings game on Oct. 26, 1980.

49ers report card: Grading offense, defense in 33-30 loss to Packers

49ers report card: Grading offense, defense in 33-30 loss to Packers

GREEN BAY, Wis. – What looked as if it might be an uplifting victory for a team in need of a little good news, instead turned into another heart-wrenching loss for the 49ers.

The Green Bay Packers have Aaron Rodgers. He was the best player on the field, and he made plays in the clutch when the 49ers were looking for someone to step up. The Packers rallied for 10 points in the final two minutes to pull out a 33-30 victory over the 49ers on Monday night at Lambeau Field.

Here are the 49ers’ final grades for the evening.

Rushing offense

Clearly, the 49ers thought they had a speed advantage against the Packers, who proved to be susceptible to the outside zone runs. Matt Breida was banged up with a problematic ankle, but he still managed to gain 61 yards on 14 rushing attempts. Speedster Raheem Mostert had a career game with 87 yards on 12 carries, as he replaced Alfred Morris as Breida's sidekick.

But the 49ers did not get the yards on the ground when they were needed. On the final two drives, Mostert had one carry for minus-1 yard.

Grade: B-plus

Passing offense

C.J. Beathard was very good for most of the game, but he made two costly mistakes in the fourth quarter. He failed to hit a wide-open George Kittle on a third-down play that would have extended a drive deep in Green Bay territory. The 49ers ended up settling for a field goal.

Beathard’s only interception came on his final pass of the game against an all-out blitz. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said Beathard could have chosen other, better options.

Grade: B

Rushing Defense

The Packers averaged 5.5 yards on their 21 rushing attempts. Rodgers had three big scrambles that picked up a combined 34 yards, including a 21-yarder on the game-winning drive.

Grade: C-plus

Passing Defense

As well as the 49ers played in some stretches, they also played very poorly at other parts of the game. Rodgers barely completed 50 percent of his passes, but he threw for 425 yards and two touchdowns. The 49ers also did not generate any takeaways for the second game in a row.

There were still too many blown coverages, and Richard Sherman was called for an illegal contact penalty that kept Green Bay’s game-winning drive alive. After Jimmie Ward left the game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury, Rodgers went after his replacement, Greg Mabin.

Grade: D

Special Teams

Rookie D.J. Reed lost a fumble in the first quarter on a kickoff return after the Packers tied the score at 7-7. Green Bay scored a field goal off James’ turnover. He was benched in favor of Richie James for the remainder of the game. James had a 32-yard return late in the game, that could have been big if the offense had put together a couple of first downs and moved into position for a game-winning FG attempt.

Robbie Gould made all three of his field-goal attempts, and Bradley Pinion averaged a respectable 40.0 net on three punts.

Grade: C


Few expected the 49ers to be competitive. They were, and, frankly, they should have won the game. Instead, it was another agonizing loss for the 49ers, who fall to 1-5 on the season.

Again, the 49ers lost the turnover battle. They had three giveaways and no takeaways. The defense, at times, played well, and, at times, appeared confused. One could make a case that Shanahan should have gone back to the run game on the final drive, especially after a 7-yard pass to George Kittle on first down near midfield.

This could be a difficult one to brush aside. And, next up, the Los Angeles Rams come to Levi’s Stadium.

Grade: C-minus